Literacy Tips

Literacy Tip of the Week: March 28, 2020

posted Mar 28, 2020, 1:45 PM by Steven Richardson

Thank you! 
Today I want to thank you for your passion for teaching students, even when they can’t come to your classroom.

Since schools are closed, I’ve been exploring ways to teach guided reading remotely. You could schedule a live lesson with individual students or record a lesson that children can do with their parents. I’ve been using the techniques on my grandkids, and they love the lessons. I’ve added a resource to my website called Steps To Teaching Guided Reading Remotely. Click 
here to access the handout. Here is an example of a three day fluent lesson with a short word study activity.

Click here for 
Day 1 – Reading the book using the Yellow Questions strategy
Day 2 – Reread the book using the Key Word summary strategy
Day 3 – Guided Writing
Day 4 – Word Study – This could be added to one of the lessons above

You can access the book, Cat People, Dog People, Gecko People here.

For other examples of video lessons for text levels A-N click here.

I’m doing two free webinars this week. The first is this Monday, March 30, at 4 p.m. EST. Michele Dufresne and I will be presenting on our book, The Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics. You can register at this link.

The other webinar will be April 2. It’s on teaching guided reading remotely. Click here to register for that session.

One more tip for online word study. I have partnered with Jack Hartman to do a series of videos on letter formation, sight words, and breaking words. Remind your parents they can view these at home on Jack’s YouTube channel here.

Stay healthy, dear friends!

Literacy Tip of the Week: March 15, 2020

posted Mar 15, 2020, 4:50 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Mar 15, 2020, 5:20 PM ]

At Home Learning for Challenging Times 

With the closing of many school systems because of COVID-19, keeping students engaged in meaningful learning is especially important. Furthermore, the challenge of being housebound with children who are used to a school routine can be daunting. Here are some websites to share with parents and students: 

1. Scholastic has a website that offers online books, videos, and hands-on projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and learning.  There are 20 days of resources and activities sorted by grade level. For example, students can read or listen to a book about spiders, watch an engaging video, and do follow-up activities to enhance their learning. This is all FREE! Check it out!!   (By Ellen Lewis,

2.Kids love dancing and singing with Jack Hartman on YouTube. Here is a link to my newest Break it, Say it, Make it video with Jack.

3.Did you know you can take virtual tours of museums? Here is a link to 12 museums around the world.

Literacy Tip of the Week: March 8, 2020

posted Mar 9, 2020, 4:37 AM by Steven Richardson

This Wednesday, March 11 at 4 p.m. EST, Michele Dufresne and I will be offering a free webinar on running records. We will share how to use running records to guide your small group instruction. After the 20 minute presentation, we will answer questions about running records. Click here to register for the webinar. I hope you will join us.

Literacy Tip of the Week: March 1, 2020

posted Mar 1, 2020, 7:17 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Mar 1, 2020, 7:29 PM ]

I am reposting a review of the RISE INTERVENTION from Amazon. It has useful information for teachers who are considering this intensive, short term intervention.

Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2019
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free ProductWhat's this? )
One of the most powerful things about using RISE as a strategy to help student reading, is that it focusses on the content. Without understanding the content, there is no reading. Understanding and breaking down the steps to comprehension are crucial to student success.

I entered graduate study to become a Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist when my youngest was in 7th grade and he proudly brought home a certificate showing me that he could read Nonsense words at Grade 26 level. That meant he was done with the supplemental reading program in our public school. He had not learned to read better, nor had he learned to enjoy reading, but DARN, GRADE 26! He was my first child ever who struggled with reading and to see these results from a public school were devastating.

There are two sides to the Teaching Reading world. One is pronunciation and rote learning, and the other is the richer world of comprehension and learning to love words and how they enrich our world.

This is the richer world of comprehension and love of language.

Literacy Tip of the Week: February 23, 2020

posted Feb 23, 2020, 7:24 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Feb 23, 2020, 7:31 PM ]

For this week’s literacy tip I’m reposting a blog by Michele Dufresne on guided writing. You can view the lesson plan and the actual guided writing lesson I taught a group of 2nd graders reading at text level K.

Literacy Tip of the Week: February 16, 2020

posted Feb 17, 2020, 5:24 AM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Mar 1, 2020, 3:28 PM ]

Guided Writing by Tammy Seals

This week’s tip on guided writing is written by Tammy Seals, one of my Next Steps Guided Reading Consultants.


Although students may be writing more, they aren’t necessarily writing better. Teachers often struggle to teach writing standards to their students, especially their striving readers. Many students still need support with writing skills they should have mastered in earlier grades. Guided writing is the perfect tool to help them become better writers.


Guided Writing is assisted writing. It extends comprehension on the text students have read during guided reading and improves writing skills as teachers work side by side with their students (The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading, p. 139).  Teachers should select a response format for writing based on the book the students read and their comprehension focus for the group. Then teachers help students create a simple plan and prompt them as they write. With transitional and fluent readers, Jan suggests teachers analyze writing samples to pinpoint a target skill for each student. See pages 198 and 199 for a list of goals and prompts for transitional readers.


Whenever I teach a session on guided writing, I ask teachers to bring a few student writing samples so we can analyze the writing and select a target skill using Dr. Richardson’s writing skills continuums (pp. 207-208). I love to model guided writing lessons to show teachers how to scaffold and assist students on the spot. I demonstrate how important it is for some students, especially English learners, to orally rehearse their sentences before they write them. This gives teachers the opportunity to support the student in developing standard English structure. Guided writing is the bridge between whole-class writing lessons and independent practice. Once you have taught students a target skill during guided writing, expect them to practice that skill during writing workshop or independent writing time. Reading word study, and writing are reciprocal processes that should be integrated in every guided reading lesson regardless of the text level. 


Guided Reading consultants are available to assist and scale this type of professional development model in schools and districts. 

Tammy Seals, M.S.Ed.

Guided Writing PD in Charleston, West Virginia

Literacy Tip of the Week: February 9, 2020

posted Feb 9, 2020, 6:27 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Feb 9, 2020, 6:29 PM ]

Break it, Say it, Make it!

I recently teamed up with Jack Hartmann to produce a set of engaging videos that help students break words at the onset and rime. There are five videos. Each targets a specific phonics skill such as digraphs, blends, and silent e. Remember to subscribe to Jack's YouTube channel so you can be notified when a new video is posted. Happy breaking!

Literacy Tip of the Week: February 2, 2020

posted Feb 2, 2020, 6:52 PM by Steven Richardson

Teaching children to apply what they have learned

I encourage you to read the recent Teaching Tip from my friend and coauthor, Michele Dufresne as she talks about teaching children to apply phonics skills during reading and writing.

Literacy Tip of the Week: January 26, 2020

posted Jan 26, 2020, 6:16 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Jan 26, 2020, 6:20 PM ]

Learn more about Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics (Richardson and Dufresne, 2019)

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with two exceptional reading coaches from West Dubuque School District in Iowa. Listen in as we talk about my newest book coauthored with Michele Dufresne. It’s called Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics. Click here to join.

Literacy Tip of the Week: January 19, 2020

posted Jan 19, 2020, 6:57 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Jan 19, 2020, 7:01 PM ]

For this week's literacy tip, please join me in a podcast with Greg and Jenny from West Dubuque, Iowa. We discuss RISE, an intensive intervention program based on the "Next Steps" lesson framework. I share why so many interventions fail, what RISE is and why it works. Check out the RISE Framework book here. To listen to the podcast, click the link below.

Next week we will have a podcast to share with teachers on word study.

1-10 of 209